Southeast Minnesota landowner focus groups and survey

Principal Investigator: David C. Fulton

Co-investigator: Mae Davenport, Forest Resources.

Graduate Students: Amanda Sames, Amit Pradhananga Ph.D., Natural Resources Science and Management

Status: Focus groups and social survey were completed August 2013, and final report is complete. 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) has conducted several studies of hunter attitudes and acceptance of hunting regulations to assist the agency in designing regulations that achieve biological goals yet are socially acceptable. Although the agency has done extensive work in understanding the perspectives of deer hunters in southeastern Minnesota, the perspectives of private landowners around deer management issues has not been studied. Thus, private landowners’ experiences, attitudes, and actions regarding deer hunting and land management in southeastern Minnesota are poorly understood. Yet, private landowners play a key role in controlling hunter access to deer populations. Understanding landowner perspectives will further assist the agency in designing hunting regulations and in developing landowner assistance programs in southeastern Minnesota.

The main purpose of this study was to understand private landowners’ perspectives on deer hunting and deer management in southeastern Minnesota. This study gathered information from private landowners about their perceptions of deer hunting, deer regulations and management options in southeastern Minnesota. In addition, this survey also gathers information from landowners about farming practices, wildlife damage, posting and leasing their land for deer hunting.

The specific objectives of this study were to:

  1. Determine the level of estimated crop damage due to deer and other species in southeastern Minnesota;
  2. Determine private landowners’ opinions about deer hunting including reasons for leasing property to hunters;
  3. Determine private landowners’ reasons for posting property;
  4. Determine private landowners’ opinions regarding deer population;
  5. Describe land-owning hunters’ deer hunting experiences in the 2011 deer hunting season including permit area hunted and the type of land hunted on;
  6. Determine private landowners’ and hunters’ opinions regarding deer hunting regulations including support for the regulation changes that were implemented in 2010;
  7. Determine private landowners’ perceptions about deer management including their perspectives on strategies to lower deer population.